USS Texas was a second-class battleship built by the United States in the early 1890s, the first American battleship commissioned and the first ship named in honor of the state of Texas to be built by the United States. Built in reaction to the acquisition of modern armored warships by several South American countries, Texas was meant to incorporate the latest developments in naval tactics and design. This includes the mounting of her main armament en echelon to allow maximum end-on fire and a heavily-armored redoubt amidships to ensure defensive strength. However, due to the state of U.S. industry at the time, Texas's building time was lengthy, and by the time she was commissioned, she was already out of date. Nevertheless, she and her near-sister USS Maine were considered advancements in American naval design.
Texas developed a reputation as a jinxed or unlucky ship after several accidents early in her career; she consequently earned the nickname "Old Hoodoo". These mishaps included problems during construction, a grounding off Newport, Rhode Island, and flooding shortly afterwards while at dock in New York City. In the last, she settled to the bottom with her gun deck awash and several crew members drowned. She also received significant damage to her hull in drydock after being raised. Her reputation improved with her service in the Spanish–American War, when she blockaded the coast of Cuba and fought in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba.
After the war, Texas returned to peacetime duty, interrupted by several refits. She became the station ship in Charleston, South Carolina, by 1908 and was renamed San Marcos in 1911 to allow her name to be used by a new battleship. She became a target ship that same year and was sunk in shallow water in Chesapeake Bay. She was used as a gunnery target through World War II and was finally demolished in 1959 because her remains were considered a navigational hazard.
USS Texas 1895 WL T-shirt
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